Wednesday, January 07, 2015

♥ Quick and Easy Chicken And Dumplings

You say, "how did you make homemade chicken and dumplings so quickly?" It's easy. It took me all of 15 minutes. My secret was a store bought rotisserie chicken and Bisquick. Now don't knock Bisquick. It has all the same exact ingredients you use to make dumplings from scratch...things right out of your pantry. Here's the recipe. I even show you how to make your own Bisquick for those of you who can't get it in your country.

Quick and Easy Chicken And Dumplings

(Bisquick drop dumplings)

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skins and bones removed.
1 container of chicken stock
1 cup of water
Pepper to taste
2 cups of Bisquick
2/3 cup half and half (or more as needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh parsley for garnish

Pour chicken stock and water into large pot and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Cut off pieces of chicken and drop into boiling liquid. I use mostly the dark meat as it gives off more flavor. You can add as much chicken as you want. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium high and remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Mix Bisquick and half and half until you form a soft dough. Drop by large rounded spoonfuls into slow boiling liquid. Turn down heat to low and cover pot. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes until dumplings no longer doughy in the middle. Carefully add chicken pieces making sure you do not disturb dumplings so they do not break apart. Turn off the heat and serve. 


5 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening or very cold butter

Photo source:
In large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives. I use my hands to blend into a fine sand-like mix. If you use cold butter, store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. If you used Crisco or any other shortening, store in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 6 months.


Photograph is copyrighted and the property of ©Welcome Home 2014.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

♥ Lemon Cream Cake

Why do I love this cake?  Let me count the reasons!   First it's light and airy and so moist.  Next, it has a wonderful creamy filling with just a subtle hint of fresh lemon that makes it almost summery. And because it is simple and quick and perfect for those times when you really want to impress your guests.  This is a keeper my friends!

 Lemon Cream Cake
1 box white cake mix, plus the oil, eggs, and water as directed
1 box  lemon cake mix
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium lemon, juiced
lemon zest of half the same lemon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (8 oz.) package Mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. 
Prepare the white cake according to the directions on the box. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into a 10 inch round baking pan.  I use a 10 inch spring form pan but you don't have to. 

While the cake is baking, make the filling.  Mix together the mascarpone, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and whipping cream. Add  the lemon zest of half the same lemon and then mix until creamy and smooth.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to completely cool.  Then with a serrated knife, carefully cut the cake in half.  On the bottom half of the cooled cake, drop dollops of the cream filling and smooth with rubber spatula.  Save some for the top of the cake.  Put on the other half of the cake and spread a thin layer of the remaining filling on top of the cake.

Next, make your crumb topping.  In a medium bowl, combine 1 and 3/4 cups of the lemon cake mix with about a tablespoon of  the melted butter. I like to start off with just a butter and continue to add more until I get the perfect crumb topping.  Usually about 2-3 tablespoons.  

Sprinkle topping all over top of cake. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

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Monday, January 05, 2015

Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread

Sometimes I get up early in the morning and put on a big pot of beans, just like my Mom used to do. They were our special meal and I still love them today. She would go out to her garden and pull up some spring onions and make a big cast iron skillet of cornbread to go with them. My Mom called them Soup beans. Soup beans is a term common in the Southern United States, particularly the regions around the Appalachian Mountains. It refers to pinto or other brown dried beans cooked with pork as flavoring. They are considered a main course in the south and in Appalachia where food was scarce during the winter, these beans were a staple food. I cook mine with ham hocks, bacon or "fat back" as my Mom used to refer to it. I also mix my beans ....a 1/2 bag of Pintos and a 1/2 bag of red kidney beans and the flavors are just perfect.

Southern "Soup Beans" and Cornbread

1/2 lb. pinto beans
1/2 lb. red kidney beans
6 cups water
2-3 meaty ham hocks, or a slab of fat back
4 slices of bacon, fried and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Soak beans overnight if you have time. The next day, rinse and drain them and put them to a soup pot or dutch oven with your ham hocks, bacon, onion, and garlic. Do not salt at this point or it will make your beans tough. Add in 6 cups of water or enough to just cover the beans. Cover them and bring to a full boil for about 10 minutes. Then turn down the temperature and let them cook until tender–at least 3 hours in a simmering pot. Stir from time to time and add more water if necessary. You want the gravy to look thick like a stew and not thin like water.

Next, remove the ham hocks and place on a plate. Then shred the ham hocks and put them back in the pot. Add salt and pepper, and allow beans to continue to cook on low while you make your cornbread.

By the time your cornbread is ready, the bean liquid should have reduced to a thick broth. Ladle out the beans into wide shallow bowls, then top the beans with onions if desired. Serve with a big slice of corn bread.

Southern Cornbread                                                                      

1/4 cup of bacon drippings
1-1/2 cups regular yellow cornmeal (not self rising)
3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of buttermilk, more or less (see note on how to make your own buttermilk below)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add the bacon drippings to a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place the skillet into the oven to melt the fat and heat the skillet. You want it very hot but not smoking.

In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and swirl the hot fat around to coat the entire skillet. Pour the fat from the skillet into the cornmeal mixture; stir. Stir in half of the buttermilk and add the egg; add more buttermilk as needed to make a thick but pourable batter. Mix the ingredients but don't beat or over mix. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet. You should hear it sizzle when it hits the skillet. Carefully place directly into the oven and bake at 450 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes, then very carefully turn the cornbread out onto a plate or platter to preserve that nice crispy crust!

 Pan Version: If you prefer to make this in a pan, just grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with vegetable shortening. Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into pan. Bake as above.

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Friday, January 02, 2015

Strawberry Salad

I love this salad!  I used to make my own balsamic glaze for it until I found Star Fine Foods Creamy Balsamic Glaze was so much better than my own!  Their creamy sweet glaze and this salad are a perfect match. You get such intense sweet and tangy flavors of the balsamic that go beautifully with the ripe strawberries and sweet crunchy pecans! Did I mention I love this salad?
Strawberry Salad with Candied Pecans and Balsamic Glaze
  •    2-3 cups mixed greens (I like arugula and baby spinach)
  •    1 pint strawberries, sliced
  •    1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  •    1/4 cup candied pecans (see below)
  •    1/4 cup red grapes, sliced
  •    1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  •    1/4 cup Star Fine Foods Modena Creamy Balsamic Glaze 

Glaze the pecans:  In a saute pan, add the pecans and sugar and slowly heat on low until sugar starts to melt and pecans become toasted. Set aside to completely cook on wax paper.

Chill two salad plates in the freezer while mixing salad.  
Rinse mixed greens, spin dry and add to a large bowl. In a large salad bowl, drizzle some of the balsamic down the sides of the bowl. Add in greens and strawberries; toss gently.  Sprinkle in pecans and toss again. Finally add sliced grapes,  pine nuts and cheese. Remove salad plates from freezer and plate with lettuce mixture. Sprinkle on more pecans and drizzle with more glaze. Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: I have an ongoing relationship with STAR Fine Foods for my recipes and photography using their wonderful products. This post is sponsored by STAR. I am compensated for my time and work and I am sent products as I request them. However, all opinions of the product stated in this post are 100% my own. I truly love their products!
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